Wayne Rooney’s first Merseyside derby goal earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Anfield as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s selection gamble backfired.
It was a moment the 32-year-old had dreamed about ever since making his Toffees debut way back in August 2002 but, having had to wait after more than a decade at Manchester United, when it came it was something of a gift.
The pent-up frustration was evident in the way he smashed home a 77th-minute penalty – awarded after Dejan Lovren needlessly fouled Dominic Calvert-Lewin – to cancel out Mohamed Salah’s brilliant first-half strike and his celebration in front of the visiting fans was equally as exhuberant.
New Everton manager Sam Allardyce’s game plan had been an unambitious one but he would argue the ends justified the means as his tactics nullified a Liverpool attack – missing the rested Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino – which has scored 32 goals in the previous nine matches.
The Toffees may still be searching for their first win at Anfield since 1999 but this felt like a victory considering how much territory they conceded.